Zuma denies Phiyega probe

2014-09-30 00:00

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma has denied launching a probe into national police commissioner Riah Phiyega’s conduct.

The development comes as a team of attorneys acting for the police prepares to take on suspended KwaZulu-Natal Hawks head Johan Booysen — who remains on special leave.

Phiyega has bounced from back-to-back controversies and weekend newspaper reports said the president had ordered a probe into her conduct. But a statement issued by spokesperson Mac Maharaj yesterday denied this.

“President Jacob Zuma has not appointed a committee to investigate the national police commissioner, General Riah Phiyega, as reported by a Sunday newspaper yesterday, 28 September 2014. The media reports to that effect are incorrect,” he said.

While this fire was doused, her continued legal battle with Booysen is set to play out in the labour court.

The state attorney acting for the police has filed papers in the Johannesburg Labour Court, seeking to review the findings of Advocate Nazeer Cassim SC.

Cassim had cleared Booysen of misconduct charges, a decision which they seek to overturn.

According to Booysen’s attorney, certain incriminating evidence had been excluded from the state’s filed papers.

This omission, purposeful or otherwise, has effectively stalled the process, with responding papers held-up until the full record is made available.

Phiyega has come under fire during this saga that saw Booysen and a 28-strong team of officers from the Cato Manor Serious and Violent Crimes Unit suspended indefinitely.

Phiyega was heavily criticised by Cassim in his findings, insisting that continued steps to charge Booysen had been contrived.

He said that her decision to charge Booysen internally was not based on fact and that she was out of touch with the case completely.

He accused her of orchestrating contrived evidence to get rid of Booy­sen.

“I do not want to be critical of General Phiyega more than is necessary. Her evidence was evasive and unsatisfactory in material aspects. Short of telling me that she took the decision to prosecute Booysen because she was unhappy with his conduct … she had no insight or knowledge of any details of the factual content relating to these events,” he found.

“She was sadly unable to deal with the state of play of senior police officers in particular, [KZN commissioner Mmamonnye] Ngobeni and [Colonel Navin] Madhoe, other than to say that the concerns regarding them will be dealt with in due course.”

“I find this wholly unsatisfactory and supports, if not augments, the contention that charges against Booysen were contrived to get rid of him. I would be failing in my duty not to bring this to attention,” Cassim wrote.

Phiyega’s spokesperson Solomon Makgale said that they would not comment on the review until the matter was finalised.

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